Killer repression, regime counter-demonstrations, internet cuts… Iran continues to burn even as the repression of demonstrations has left at least 50 dead, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR).
Tehran was the scene on Friday night of new furious demonstrations after a week of protests sparked by the death of a young woman arrested by the morality police, whose crackdown left at least 17 dead. Videos verified by AFP posted on social media show a man in military uniform shooting at protesters in the Shahre Rey region, south of the Iranian capital.
Still other footage shows protesters running outside the Park Royal hotel in northern Tehran on a street with scenes of chaos and several localized street fires. At least eight shots of undetermined origin are heard.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “wearing inappropriate clothing” by the moral police, responsible for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s dress code.
His death, three days later in hospital, led to demonstrations in Iran’s major cities, including the capital Tehran.
State media on Thursday reported the deaths of 17 people in the protests. But the number is likely to be much higher, with the Oslo-based opposition NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) on Friday reporting at least 50 dead in security forces’ crackdown on protests which, according to this source, occurred in approximately 80 cities last week.
Confrontations and arrests
In several Iranian cities, protesters clashed with security forces, burned police vehicles and shouted anti-government slogans, according to media and activists. Police arrested an unknown number of people, Iranian media reported. Among them are activist Majid Tavakoli and journalist Nilufar Hamedi, according to his entourage. The most viral images on social media are those in which we see Iranian women burning their scarves. In Iran, women must cover their hair and cannot wear short or tight coats.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday promised an investigation into the young woman’s death, specifying that the medical examiner did not report abuse by the police, which protesters dispute. Faced with the protesters, described as “counter-revolutionaries”, “rioters” or “conspirators”, the authorities retaliated by organizing their own demonstrations after Friday prayers. At the request of an organization responsible for organizing official events, thousands of people marched in various cities in Iran, including Tehran, Qom (north) or Isfahan (center).
In Tehran, hundreds of people, including women wearing chador, demonstrated with Islamic Republic flags, signs of support and thanks to the police, according to state television. “Death to the conspirators”, “Defending the end of the veil is American policy”, could be heard as slogans. Praising the “efforts and sacrifices of the police”, the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, in turn, assured that the recent “conspiracy of the enemy” was “doomed to failure”. Authorities on Thursday reported the deaths of five members of the police.
While NGOs abroad denounced a “brutal” crackdown on demonstrations in Iran, internet connections were still heavily disrupted there on Friday, with WhatsApp and Instagram blocked, while Washington announced measures “to support Iranians’ access to free space”. information flow”. . On Friday, Washington announced the lifting of certain bans on trade with Iran in order to allow technology companies to provide platforms and services that allow Iranians to access the Internet.
This announcement comes a few days after SpaceX owner Elon Musk stated that he intended to ask the US administration to waive sanctions against Iran for offering internet connection services through its Starlink satellite constellation. The new measures “will help counter the Iranian government’s efforts to monitor and censor its citizens,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “The Iranian government is afraid of its own people,” he said.
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